How will the Bills handle their crowded running back situation?

Brandon Beane says it will take care of itself

Sal Capaccio
July 18, 2019 - 10:16 pm

Photo: Timothy T. Ludwig - USA TODAY Sports

LeSean McCoy. Frank Gore. Devin Singletary. T.J. Yeldon. Marcus Murphy. Senorise Perry. Christian Wade.

The Buffalo Bills have a pretty crowded running back room as they head to training camp next week at St. John Fisher in Rochester. Not just because of the number of players, but also because of the big names, the money they’re making, and the way they were acquired has caused a lot of speculation and wonder about how the team will manage the position throughout training camp and the preseason, and then eventually even during the regular season.

General manager Brandon Beane gave his thoughts on several of the players and how he sees the position overall.

 

Beane on having so many players at the position:

“I'd rather have too many than not enough. We're looking for the best 53 players. You do have minimums you've got to keep at a position, but I don't go every year into camp and go, 'We got to keep X number of [offensive] linemen, X number of running backs.' We've got to keep the best football players. Now, again, we can't keep six [offensive] linemen and six running backs, but I think a lot of that will take care of itself. And listen, I've been on the side of it where you've got too few. All of a sudden, you can say we're deep at running back. But a couple of guys go down and it starts getting thin quickly, that's a position where the pads come on where you do start to see injuries can happen and things like that. I like the room that we have in there, and I'm looking forward to the competition. I think the two older vets are going to push each other and going to provide a lot of competition to that room. And obviously, Devin's come in and T.J. and Marcus Murphy. Senorise Perry is still learning the offense as well, but has been a really good special teams player. And then Christian Wade. We have a lot of players there. But I'm not sitting here and saying right now I'm keeping four or five or whatever. We're going to keep the best ones.”

 

Beane on how concerned he is that McCoy is more towards the end than the beginning:

“I’m not concerned. I think LeSean still can play. If not, we would have made the decision to move on. I think he's embraced the competition this spring. Guys handle competition in different ways. I don't think he's shied away from it. I don't think that's his nature. He's very confident, when you talk to him, that he still sees himself up here (raises hand up to show a high level), and I don't think you're changing that. And I wouldn't want him to think any different. But we're focused on this year. That's what we have him under contract for, and I definitely think he's got enough left in the tank to help us in 2019.”

 

Beane on finding the right balance of reps, but not overworking McCoy and Gore in preseason:

“I think, with those guys, this is the thing I've already figured out about Frank: Frank wants the ball all the time. That's what makes him so good. So we're going to have to protect Frank from Frank. It was already one day in spring ball, he was like, 'I want more carries, I've been hurt. I want show what I can do.' We're like, 'Relax.' But, again, that's what makes him so good. And LeSean's a competitor. He sees Frank pushing, and then a young guy and then T.J.'s played meaningful snaps. So it'll be on Sean [McDermott] and Kelly [Skipper] and Brian [Daboll] to mix that up. But I think we'll definitely know. We'll do enough, even inside run drills, 9-on-7 stuff in practice that'll be padded and hitting and who's reading the holes? Who's hitting it? Who does it look like the [offensive] line's trusting? And, again, I think it's going to be a good competition. I don't know how it's going to shake out, but I think we're in a good spot.”

 

Beane on why he chose Devin Singletary in the third round:

“It’s like anything, you have to look at exactly what you’re talking about, the measurables, so to speak. It’s not what would fall into what we call a prototype size for the position, but what does he do to overcome those things? It’s what I said when we drafted him, as far as vision, instincts. He’s got, I would say, pretty solid hands; I’m not going to call them rare or elite like his vision or lateral quicks, but he’s a good football player. So beyond the measurables, those are the things I think he will overcome. Like anybody, he’s going to have to figure out the pro game and there will be adjustments along the way. But we don’t have pads on yet so I’m not going to sit here and declare we found a steal after T-shirts and shorts, but I like where he’s at, he got a lot of reps [in OTAs and minicamp], it didn’t look too big for him. I think he can play on any down and I think he’s going to be a good football player for us. I’m not really going to try and predict he’s going to be an every-down player for X number of years, but he’s going to be a good football player for our team.”



 

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